Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Character Creation in the Known World

Character Creation houserules. We never bothered calling the setting anything specific, so I'm going with "Known World" for now.

Character Creation in the Known World

This is specifically for running sandbox crawls. I'd take out some of this if I wasn't running a sandbox crawl (especially the staggered development of character background & unlocks, etc).

0. Character Sheet. Here is a character sheet. There is an example of a completed sheet below. Print this page out for ease of use.

1. Pick a given name and write it down. No family names yet.

2. There are four classes. Pick one. You may unlock more for use later and/or can switch to those classes.
                                  Fighters are usually front-line combatants
                                  The Initiated invoke divine miracles
                                  Magic Users are weird and dangerous and cast spells
                                  Thieves sneak and rely on the element of surprise to do lots of damage

3. Starting Level. Write down 1.

4. Ability Scores. Roll 3d6 6 times and write down the results, in the below order:

Strength _______  is good for accuracy and hurting things at close range, lifting things, Fighters
Dexterity _______ is good for sneaking, being quick to act, dodging, accuracy at range, Rogues
Constitution ____ how hardy you are, able to withstand great blows, laugh at death, good for everyone
Intelligence _____ measures your ability to quickly recognize & understand complex abstractions, good for M-Us
Wisdom _______ measures how “on” your intuition & common sense are, some magi resists, good for The Initiated
Charisma ______ measures your ability to sway others, how many you may lead, how beloved a leader you are, good for everyone

Also, you may:
(A) re-roll one ability score that is less than six and take the better of the two AND
(B) swap two scores once.

Final numbers are entered on the character sheet.

After step 5, there are no bonuses associated with ability scores. There are certainly no penalties.

5. Traits from Ability Scores. If you've got an ability score of 13 or greater, see below. Otherwise skip to 6.

                               scores from 13-15 indicate notable ability
                               scores from 16-17 indicate remarkable ability
                               scores of 18+ indicate awesome ability

              For each such score, write down a "Trait" in the designated section on the Character Sheet. The Trait is: descriptor + ability. So, a 15 Dex grants the notably dexterous Trait. If you've 13+ in your constitution, describe it as "hardy."
6. There are three native playable species at this point. Pick one. Befriend or discover more to unlock them for future use (you can create a new character of this species, recruit henchman and hireling of this species and/or change your species at a Vat, with some limitations). Then write it down in both the "Trait" and the "character description" section of the sheet.
                               Humans are hard to kill (extra save at death)
                               Elves are fast (can attack an extra time in combat)
                               Haflings are violent (massive bonus to ambush)

7. HP (hit points) are 8 if you're a fighter, 6 if you're a thief or one of the initiated and 4 if you're a magic-user. Note it on the character sheet.

8. Gold Multiply your charisma by 10 for your starting gold. Cash/currency is in rare earth metals and barter goods, summarized, for ease of conversion, as the standard D&D currencies.

9. Gear Everyone gets a pack, a couple weeks' worth of rations, and the various and sundry adventuring gear you'd need to start off with. Varies per starting scenario (ie, your campaign starts focused on dungeon crawling, you get torches, poles, etc; you start mountaineering, you get picks, rope, etc). Ask if you're not sure if it's there. I'll tell you ahead of time if we'll be tracking encumbrance today (chances are, it's a maybe). Everyone gets a backup chit.

10. Special Gear I'll hand you a sheet. You'll likely be able to pick a couple things to take with you and then roll for something else. This changes, but basically, the things you pick will be strange, possibly useful (and you can certainly find a way to make anything useful). The thing you roll for will just be something that works like a Trait, but temporary.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Someone mentioned not liking Jedi because they seemed to be like, morally superior super heroes. Here is how I think Jedi are cool. Homebrew players will recognize a lot of this.


Requires Wis or Cha of 13

XP requirements as LotFP Fighter. 
You cannot wear armor.

On advance, you are either advancing as Sith or as Jedi. Jedi gain health as normal, Sith do not gain any bonus (but are effected by any penalties) from Con.

Using Force Powers: Mark on your inventory each time you exert mastery and each time you exert attunement (see below). Certain abilities don’t count as a Force power. Many powers are passive (and therefore not used). If used and not otherwise specified, counts as a major action.

Jedi with a bunch of Mastery ought to expect to have to atone.

Jedi use their Wis scoreSith use their ChaJedi are attuned to the Force. Think TaoismSith master the Force. Every time you use a Sith ability, mark mastery on your character’s inventory. Every time you use a Jedi ability, mark attunement on your character’s inventory.

If you're playing with alignment, you must be Lawful.

At Level 1:

1. Starts at +0 to hit and saves as level 1 Fighter, as per LoFTP. 
2. Choose from the below list of Force Powers & Abilities as if you had rolled a 91-92 twice.
3. You can Deflect: You can hold your attack to deflect missiles when armed with a melee weapon; 2 in 6 chance. If using a laser sword you can reflect energy missile back at the enemy as a free action (only one can be reflected in this manner, though many can be deflected) hits at a -3 penalty.

After Level 1:

1. At level two and every level after, roll d100 twice on the below table to determine advancement. 

2. Deflect: 
At level 3, you can do the above, but as a free action during your turn. Holding your attack now increases your chance to deflect to 3 in 6 and the penalty to hit with a reflected energy missile to -1.

At level 6, increase your chance to deflect to 4 in 6, can now reflect 2 attacks.

At level 9, increase your chance to deflect to 5 in 6 and the chance to hit with 2 reflected attacks to +2.

How you Advance and Play:

Option 1: you choose Jedi or Sith at the outset. As Sith, you cannot advance in level if you've used attunement more than mastery. As Jedi, you cannot advance in level if you've use mastery as many times as your level. Erase these totals once you’ve advanced to the next level and start with a clean slate.

Option 2: Your fate is your own. If you have more attunements than Mastery, no effect and can choose to advance on the below as either Sith or Jedi. For every Mastery greater than your attunement, you get a -1 penalty to using force powers and, if you gain enough XP to advance while in this state, you must advance as Sith.

Force Powers & Abilities

1-30. Gain +1 to hit

31-50. Gain +1 to saves

51-60. Mind Bullets (Telekinesis, Kyle). You intuit the vibrations of the world around you and attune yourself to them. You may reach through space, vibrating across the tenuous web of the Force, to interact with something. This can be delicate (flicking an ear, pressing buttons on a keypad, undoing a strap) but cannot lift more weight (in lbs) than your Wisdom Score. Must be visible or be something you’ve seen before (-2 to any associated roll if you’re visualizing rather than looking at it). Lasts a round. Usable 1/day/3 levels without negative effect (each use beyond the limit counts as mastery). Re-rolling doubles the duration or doubles the uses, your choice. Your will tears through the Force and shits all over reality. You can do 1d3+Cha damage to anything in visual range, lift anything four times your Cha or try to Charm someone in sight (bonus for intimdation). Lasts a round. Usable 3/day/3levels. Re-rolling adds three to the uses or adds 3 to the damage done, adds 3 lbs to the amount lifted and +3 to any modifier associated with the Charmed creature.

61-70.  Juuummmmp. You can jump a quarter as far as you can move in a turn. On re-rolling, you can jump half as far as you can move. Can jump every other round. Doesn’t count as a Force power. On a second reroll, Jedi gain +1 to dodges, saves and AC while jumping; on the third and subsequent re-rolls, increase this bonus by +1.  On a second re-roll, Sith shoot through the air like a fucking maniac. Anything that gets in your way takes d3 damage and has to save v paralysis or be stunned. Same with anything you land on or w/in 5’ of where you land (of course, you can also end this with an attack). On third and subsequent rolls, add 1 to the damage and opponents take a 1 penalty to their save.

71-75. Boomerang  You can toss a weapon and have it zip back to you in the same round. Counts as a second attack. +2 bonus to hit the first time you use it against a creature, no bonus after that. Cannot make another attack or use a power during the throw.  On a second reroll, Jedi can throw longer and further, hitting a second target (four attacks in two rounds against two distinct targets) but extending the throw for a round (ie, they’re potentially weaponless on the following round). On third and subsequent rolls, Jedi gain enough poise to dodge incoming attacks (+1 to AC and dodge-related saves), cumulative.  On a second re-roll, Sith can throw longer and further, hitting a second target but extending the throw for a round. On third and subsequent rolls, Sith can keep the magic going, bouncing their weapon around like a crazy magic sword, doing three attacks a round against two-three targets.

76-80. Meld/Force Mind. Your harmonious nature precedes you and those around you feel more at ease. Communication checks with them are made using your Wisdom score and related modifier. On a second and subsequent re-roll you gain a +1 to such interactions or may influence another visible person. Last a day on the affected targets. Usable 1/day/level without negative effect.  You can scour a visible person’s mind for vital information or bend them to your will. You gain +2 to Charisma checks made against them or you can spend a round scanning their mind for useful information (make a charisma check to see if you find anything). +1 to the checks for each subsequent re-roll. Usable 3/day/2 levels. Re-rolling this the fifth time makes it free to use (ie, “always on” if you want).

81-90. Kung Fu Fighting. Add your Wisdom modifier to your AC, on a re-roll, add it to your chance to hit, on third & subsequent re-rolls, increase one or the other by 1.  Add your Charisma modifier to your AC, on a re-roll, add it to your damage, on third & subsequent re-rolls, increase one or the other by 1. If you’re playing with Option 2 advancements, you only get the bonus to AC once.

91-92. The Force be with you. Choose one of the previous advancements (counts as rolling/re-rolling).

93-94. Healing/Lightening. Jedi can mend what should not have been broken. Heal d6 for every three levels. Can repair damage to droids, structural damage, etc. in the same manner. Self-inflicted damage, or damage caused by the natural order of things (one animal hurting another, including creatures of animal intelligence attacking a human) can be healed in this manner, but 50% chance it counts as a Mastery. Usable 3/day without risk. Re rolling adds an additional use.  Force Lightening, motherfucker. Causes d6+1 damage. Increase d6 for every 2 levels. Usable 3/day without risk. After that, it does half damage to you (no save). Re-rolling adds an additional d6 to the damage. 

95. Much training, you have done. Increase Wis/Cha by 1, can be re-rolled.

96. Sudden insight/mastery. Increase Wis by 2, decrease Str by 2. Increase Cha by 3, decrease Con by 2. Cannot be re-rolled.

97. Incredible Speed. Increase your movement speed/rate 50%. Re-rolling adds an extra attack, re-rolling a second time increases your speed another 50%, re-rolling a third time adds another attack, etc, etc.
98. Dash/Pound. 1/combat, you may move your speed instantly (this isn’t teleportation, so you still have to move out of the way of things, can’t avoid pits, etc). 1/combat you may punch something and do (your level)d8 damage. Knocks the struck target back your level x 2 in feet.

99. HEAAAAVVVE. By taking a turn, you can lift something, bend bars, etc, as if you had a Strength of 25. Target must be visible. Usable 1/session and leaves you exhausted (-2 to checks, hit and saves until a good night’s rest or 8 hours meditation). By taking a turn, you can lift something; bend bars, etc as if you had a Str of 25. Target must be visible. Usable 1/session and leaves you invigorated (+1 to checks, hits and saves) for a turn. 2 in 6 chance of doing damage to the target as you aren’t very gentle. Cannot be re-rolled.

100. Miraculous/Brutal 1/week (or 1/session, whichever is longer) without risk, you can attempt something truly miraculous. This may be any Sith ability. Explain to the DM what you want to do and how you want to do it. Keep talking. You start off at -10 on a Wis check to accomplish it. The better you make your points, the lower that -10 penalty winds up being. 1/week (or 1/session, whichever is longer), you can have a battle narrated back at you, your various insane, murderous deeds described in the gory particulars. Requires a Charisma check, -3 for every 5 hit die more all the enemies in the battle have on you. Succeed and walk out unscathed, doused in machine oil and blood.


Before us, there was the old, cold world. The Creator broke from its bower in the West and passed overhead, first like a comet and then like a sun, and cast strong, bright light over what was.

There was Fire and Ix warmed her hands. "With this Fire," she thought, "I shall make great works."

When we say, "Fire" we do not mean, "fire." There are similarities: both are generative and also destructive. Both are insatiable and can burn out of control unless carefully tended. As there are those that worship gods of the hearth and those that worship the gods of wildfires, there are those that worship the Fire of life and those that worship the Fire of life unending.

When Magic Users spit "fire" spells they tap into the elemental plane of fire or shape the atmosphere, agitating it to extremes, just as when they spit cold spells they tap into the elemental plane of cold, call into being a bit of the old, cold world past or to come, or slow the atmosphere itself. The fire they call is not the Fire.

Magic is a gift of Fire, a byproduct of an exchange. By ritual and intent, the Magic User prods the Fire and by ritual and intent, a spits forth a spell: the Fire responds to the prod and a dribbled spark drops into the Magic User's head and rolls down through her mouth like an ember. 

Fire is motion and life and the Magic User's mind explodes with vistas of wildly mutating landscapes. Magic use in this manner is addicting, with the Magic User either employing outrageous, dire, drastic means to retain control of their addiction or else falling head first into their addiction.

Magic Users know, from memory, Read Magic and Detect Magic. As a Magic User gains additional levels, they become stranger, their addiction to Fire growing stronger.

Clerics are granted miracles by the deities they worship. The minor deities are a multitudinous jumble and clerics that worship one, worship many.

The major gods feed on Fire to extend their lives and powers. 

The will of the major gods is strong and most worshipers are left empty husks after years of adoration. The worshipper's essences leave their bodies and are taken up into the host of their god where they tend and feed the Fire. The templars and clerics of the major deities are mighty and powerful, more monster than man.

Random Minor Deities

The local game has a few major deities. Worshiping them is generally what the bad guys do. Below is a modified version of the charts & tables I use when generating a new minor deity for the home game. There are some metaphysical assumptions (order/chaos, light/dark, life/death, growth/decay) baked in that ought to be easy to manipulate, remove entirely etc. Here is cleaner, better looking pdf of the below.

Creating a Deity
 “There are a thousand times a thousand deities between the Crawling Chaos and the White Dragon.”
 Roll d4 for the number of syllables/characters, then roll a d100 that number of times on the below. The results may be how the name is written, how it is spoken, how the deity introduces itself, how it is known in this time and place, etc.

01ah21gah41Mah61Ta81Zoo (tsoo)
17fee37Lee57Ree77Za (tsa)97Eth
18feh38Leh58Reh78Zhee (tsee)98ach
19foh39loh59Roh79Zeh (tseh)99‘ (pause)
20foo40loo60roo80Zoh (tsoh)100bazz
 roll d12 and consult the below (instead of choosing, feel free to roll up something random)

01Organizations (anarchy or true Chaos)07Abstract Concepts (Mathematics, Philosophy, or Language)
02The Unnamed & Many (god of lost civilization, ancient technologies, an animal (choose), a star (point one out in the sky))08Cast Light (choose also: of the daytime, of summer, of spring, of fall)
03Organizations (beaurocracies, tyrannies, oligarchies, plutocracies, theocracies, the Imperial Cult)09Glorious (choose also: deaths, sacrifices, fools)
04The Final Dark (choose also: of the dead, of the end, of winter, of night)10Fire (choose also: of life, of ceaseless life, of innovation)
05Entropy (choose also: the decay of the body (and all natural things), the slow collapse of things made (art, civilizations and organizations))11Witches (name a location)
06Perpetual Destruction (war) (choose also: of things made by man, of the living, of all things)12Transpositioning (choose: travel, flight, safe harbors, trade, theft, disappearances)
 Deities value those that do homage to what they honor and despise those that practice what they eschew. If the deity’s name has 1-2 syllables, roll a d4 once below in the appropriate domain for virtues & again for taboos; if the deity’s name has 3-4 syllables, roll twice.

Domain                       Values (virtues)             Eschews (taboos)                                          
Organizations               1. Orderliness                         1. Disorderliness
(swap depending           2. Cleanliness                          2. Filthiness
on type of org)              3. Being Correct                     3. Being Interesting
                                    4. Controlling Others                4. Liberty                                             

The Unnamed &          1. The Law of Tooth & Claw    1. Mercy to those outside the
   Many                                                                            pack/cohort/religion
                                   2. The Laws of a Lost Time/     2. The laws and philosophies of modern                  
                                       People                                       mankind
                                    3. Non-Euclidean Spaces           3. Abstract Concepts
                                     4. Might                                 4. Mercy                                             

The Final Dark             1. Death                                   1. Life, Fire
                                     2. Supernatural Cold                 2. Warmth, heat, fire, etc.
                                     3. Blindness, total darkness       3. Vision, light
                                     4. the End of the World            4. Life Unending
                                      (absolute zero, total destruction)                                                        
Perpetual Destruction     1. Wars, battles                        1. Peace, peace-making
                                       2. Luddites                              2. Innovation, Fire
                                       3. Assassins                             3. Healers, good-hearted politicians,  
                                       4. the Undead                        4. the living                                          
Entropy                        1. Disorderliness                      1. Order
                                       2. Rot, corruption                    2. Growth, life,  Fire
                                       3. Poison, toxins, acids            3. Life Unending
                                       4. Rust, collapse, ruin                4. Construction, innovation                 

Abstract Concepts       1.Education                              1. Luddites
                                      2. Philosophy                            2. Philistines
                                      3. Language                              3. Non-Euclidian Space
                                      4. Mathematics                        4.  Might                                            

Cast Light                     1. Summer, Spring, Fall            1. Winter, the End of the World
                                      2. Daytime, the Sun, Crops,      2. Cold
                                      3. Artificial, constructed light      3. Controlling Others
                                      4. the Moon                        4. Darkness                                           

Fire                               1. Magic                                    1. Death
                                      2. Creation, Life                         2. the End of the World
                                      3. Mutation (“Life Unending”)     3. Total Darkness
                                      4.  Innovation                           4. all cold                                         

Witches                          1. Poison, toxins, acids               1. Controlling Others
                                      2. Mutation                                 2. Cleanliness
                                      3. Creation                                 3. Abstract Concepts
                                      4. the Law of Tooth & Claw 4. All cold                                         

Transposition               1. Travel                                    1. Chaos
                                      2. Trade                                     2. Controlling Others
                                      3. Safe Harbors, Safety               3. Disorderliness
                                      4.Thiefs/thievery                         4. Filthiness                                      

Glorious                     1. Battle, War                             1. Entropy
                                    2. Self-Sacrifice                           2. The Final Dark
                                    3. Mercy                                     3. Abstract Concepts
                                    4.  Creation, Life, Healing       4. Peace, peace-making                 
*EDITED as I left off "Glorious"

 Below is a random interesting thing about your deity. Roll d20 once.

RollFun Fact
01speaks using images, emotions, music, formulas, etc.; comprehendible to followers or on an Int [-2] or Wis check, relays valuable information.
02only responds to petitions in rhyme, will speak in rhyme, grants bonus to checks related to diplomacy, bluffing and the arts.
03appears in the form of an animal, may grant a temporary bonus, as a Magic User’s familiar.
04has a visual quirk whenever it appears, noticing the quirk may earn wrath or reward.
05appears as an abstraction (equation, sign/symbol, drawing, etc); deciphering the meaning of the abstraction grants the worshipper special insight
06is an agent of the creator or perhaps even an incarnation of the creator itself, likely grants insight into matters supernatural, especially having to do with fire and the end of all things.
07speaks in two voices, has a dichotomous nature (embodies elements of order/chaos, light/dark, etc), may be flexible about violations of taboos.
08known for pestering petitioners. Rather than appearing to worshippers in visions, is simply always “on” and easily reachable via meditation or even mild concentration. Is always mid-sentence when contacted. 50% there is useful knowledge to be had (may not be germane to current predicament).
09knows all about one specific field of knowledge (flight, tectonic movement, quadratic equations) and may grant its followers such knowledge (on a Wis check)
10was once mortal and may know the secret to immortality or prolonging life. Senior cultists are likely hundreds of years old.
11associated with a specific smell (flower or spice) and may grant knowledge as to flora, fauna and geology
12associated with a specific smell (mineral or mechanical) and may grant knowledge as to scientific matters
13is associated with one of the four elements (roll d4 for earth, fire, wind, water— none are opposed to a domain [ie, can be “dark flame,” “crumbling earth”, etc) and may grant insight or protection into the same.
14is known for her terrible wrath, may grant furies in battle (as a berserker or the like).
15worshippers haunted by visions of other dimensions, may have knowledge of different times and places.
16is attended by minor saints, angels or other divine beings who may respond to worshipper's calls for help.
17is consort or courtier to another, perhaps greater deity. May petition that deity for aid.
18appears in dreams and meditation as a specific thing. Finding that thing will lead to a momentous event for the worshipper.
19speaks to worshippers with several voices, multiple mouths, worshipper may be able to understand strange tongues
20wears a crown of divine puissance. Will grant its favorite the crown some day.

the DM rolls 5d10, consults the below and keeps the result a secret (alternatively, see “An Interesting Thing or Two” table and riff on the results there. For example, if the interesting thing is “was once a mortal...” or “is a consort or courtier…”, the “is a giant wolf…” from the below may work well.) As always, hack to and flavor to suit.).

RollThis is true about this godRollThis is true about this god
05is newly born; may be shocked to learn basic things, fits of wrath are actually tantrums (may just be hungry)28is trapped in a prison somewhere and pleads for freedom. Release may prove catastrophic
06has written all her secrets on a book stored in the world library. The book is a palimpsest. Translating book affords power over her29claims to be two gods of one being and two natures but is just one god. May be bored or may be insane.
07has vacated this realm, leaving its work to others/a complex bureaucracy of semi-divine saints30Is trapped in a state of death and rebirth, sometimes causing powers granted to fail
08is of infinitely small/large size31is secretly two gods, sharing a single being but of dual natures
09cannot recall the past/future surrounding cleric's life. Can offer insights into times long past/not yet to come32is a sentient vat, trying to breed a race of followers. Its sworn enemy is the god below
10is a ghost shark and consumes stars, slowly becoming luminous itself33Is the opposite of what it claims to be
11is an ancient being who is about to die and be reborn as another god entirely34Suffers from a strange disease. Would be lethal, but survives by passing the disease to worshippers, as miracles.
12lives in the rays of light cast by a certain star, now collapsed into a black hole35is a sentient vat, trying to breed its creator. Its sworn enemy is the god above
13has died quite some time ago and is in denial of anything that happened after its death (is “just playing along” with its deluded followers, provides oracular visions as a joke/to humor them)36claims to be the ninth form of the creator, vibrating on the eleventh parallel, will answer to no other name, after the first time it is called on by the name given
14has caused a catastrophic war in the future/past and is so horrified it refuses to take any form of direct intervention37obsessed with an item of seeming insignificance. Pesters worshippers about the item frequently
15is a lich38Is really a wizard
16is a really old wyvern39will claim importance and powers far beyond its reach
17is a giant wolf and is fed and kept by another god40is an empty suit of armor, waiting for its next avatar to put it on
18is a porcupine, each of whose quills grants miraculous powers41is an enormous black pudding (the monster)
19is a porcupine, each of whose quills can be used to kill someone automatically; the porcupine has 3d6 quills left and will die once the last quill is used42is an enormous hourglass guarded by an equally large bronze dragon, once the sand stops falling, god will fall into a slumber. The dragon will prevent any attempt to turn the hourglass.
20is a whale, its belly contains pearls, each of which is a small universe of kind, sentient beings43hates anything with hair, will demand followers shave their heads, trim hair, etc
21pretends to be a millenia old wyvern but is actually a vat-grown being of incredible powers, slowly succombing to vat death44is an enormous black pudding (the edible kind); blood comes from endless followers, or from another deity's corpse
22the god must be eaten by its followers to remain divine, once it is eaten entirely or no one cares to eat it, it dies, disappears or returns to its original condition45is a fungus and sentient only in spore form, subsumed into the super-body of another fungal deity when it grows to the cannon-like structure that spits spore deities once more into the ether
23will not shut up46is forgetful at the worst possible moment
24is a ghost shark, will try to eat any friends or family of its worshipper47always provides three answers, at least one of which is true
25is one of the black pawns in an unassuming chess set in the possession of one of the players or their ally48is a fungus that infects a human being to survive, causing obsessive behavior and a stutter. Once the victim can no longer utter the name of the god due to the stutter, the victim bursts into a thousand spores, each of which sails through the air on seeking a new avatar.
26floats through the atmosphere as a massive storm cloud and nearly dies whenever it rains49pretends to be a lich/undead, but actually is a phylactery of an ancient alien being, long dead.
27Haunts an old forest, castle, complex, dungeon. Can be turned as a lich (level 20).50Hates its worshippers but is bound by supernatural contract to serve them, will do whatever it can to get its followers to destroy the contract.

Monday, January 21, 2013

3x and 4e players; getting to know the OSR, for free

So someone asks, "What free OSR products would you recommend for someone who has only experienced 3.X and/or 4E, but wants to branch out and learn "new" games?"

What's the answer?

My first suggestion is: sit down with the three brown books (and maybe Chainmail?) and read them all through. Pretty sure you can find pdfs via google (you could, of course, spend the time and money to hunt for actual copies). Not that I'm advocating you download hot data. 

I think all told, they're like 100 pages? I can't remember.

Once you're finished, it should be apparent that OD&D is incomplete. If you're coming at this from 3x or 4e, it'll likely feel really, really incomplete. It's like a quarter of the rules you'd expect.

This is by design. Rather than deciding how throwing an oil flask and then lighting that oil works in your world for you, Gygax et al more or less leave it open for you/your DM to figure it out. This is meant to be part of the fun. It's "meant" to encourage players to think outside of their character sheet, among other things (The reason I'm suggesting your read the core rule books is because it may not be apparent what is going on in the below links without that knowledge - and because I think it's likely more effective if you just read stuff yourself rather than take my word for it).

Then go grab Philotomy's Musings over at grey-elf and skim them. I like Philotomy's because it's simple, direct and it's built through play. It's also fairly vanilla, so it's applications are broad.

And like, check out what Zak Smith has done here, to the Wizard class.

And like, this, from Jeff Rients and this.

And this, from Joey.

And lookit how Raggi does encumbrance. (art free rules linked on the right of the page)

And look at Jack Mcnamee's Dangertopia

And Jack Shear's Gothic Earth (his blog is linked below)

And Matt Finch's Old School Primer (caveat: the tone of this primer pisses some people off, I hear. I think it explains some of the appeal of OSR gaming, but it's kind of hard to capture lightning in a jar)

And go mine the below blogs for ideas about classes, settings, rules, spells, etc, etc.

And really, all of Zak's and Jeff's and Joey's stuff and these too:

Rolang's Creeping Doom

Secret Santicore

Grotesque & Dungeonesque


Reynaldo's blog

Hill Cantons

Brendan's blog

False Machine





Ian's Blog

And over course, this.

And Jensen's Jammers

I know I've left a bunch out. Is there a "best of the OSR blogs" out there? If someone thinks I'm missing an obvious blog, let me know. I know I am, I'm just tired/lazy.
Here are a few products for money that are chosen as I feel they are indicative of what I value in the OSR:

If you're willing to shell out a little money, Vornheim is a great example of OSR-ness.
For more money than that, Blood & Treasure is a really interesting (I can't say good as I haven't finished it) adaptation of 3x for the OSR.
For even more money than that, here is part of a megadungeon

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Legends of the Fall

"The fantastic is in league against me"

The Lay of the Land

Some Races:


Humans wear tight jeans and look hungry. They hate their Elf overlords, but lack any kind of respectable central authority to foment and organize an effective rebellion.* Worse, some humans have eschewed squatting in the ruins or work in an Elven fashion-mine and have come to set themselves up as petite bourgeoisie in the Countryside. Or shopowners claiming ownership of scalvaged goods from the ruins, fashion-cultists burning bomber jackets in front of Elvish department stores. 

*Out in the wild, ruined hills, a man-hawk mutant has declared himself king of the humans, but is generally ignored as he is known more for dressing rebelliously than actually being rebellious - he has affected red eyelid dye and wears Elven military dress.


Elves are fallen angels They are generally indistinguishable from humans but for their insane musculature and reliably punch-me faces. They often smear their eyelids and lips in black dyes and are generally secretive, spending much of their free time formulating means to return to heaven and overthrow whatever deities live there. Elves live in the best parts of the countryside, in old department stores.


Halflings are strange looking, speak in nasal, mumbling voices and Manc accents. Are generally no shorter than a short human being. Are frequently hired for performances of the demanding, shout/moan/buzz/spit/growl songs traditional to their home in the wild, ruined hills. Those that aren't skalds, spend their time scalvaging the wild, ruined hills for weapons. Elven leadership eyes this practice with increasing anxiety. They are tireless workers, avid drinkers and abhor bullshit and tyranny.

Some Places:
The wild, ruined hills stretch for hundreds of miles in every direction and are rolling piles of tangled metal beams, tumbledown buildings, footprints of truly enormous structures long since toppled. Devils and body- modifiers haunt the ruins while most humans settle around major halfling scalvaging sites or Elven fashion mines or Elven textile mills.

The largest settlement in the hills is Lads For, a hafling town full of plotters, anarchists and angry skalds. The name purportedly is from the halfling children's rhyme, "need some horror, we're the lads fer."

Lads For is full of fighting pits, most conflicts are resolved in this manner, while the old, dank basements are hung with Elf scalps and sharp hatchets.

Occasionally there is a massive collapse as a tiny, sentient star belches out of the hills and heads for the sky, the heat searing to death everything miles away. Valkyrie stalk the hills in designer black armor, looking for more of their star-brothers to resurrect and generally acting horrifying and sharpening their teeth.

The Countryside is where most Elves and the human petite-bourgeoisie live in idyllic beauty and the cleanliness and comfort of modern living. Most elvish cities are built around department stores, which are treated as center of commerce, church and government hall.

The largest Elvish settlement is around an enormous frankenstein of cobbled-together stores called Dunismore.

The Elves are building a pantheon of consumer gods, too beautiful to behold, forever hungry for more, their god-hunger a catching disease. Once they've scalvaged enough of the star-brother's corpses, they'll be able to raise their new pantheon to powers greater than the god that first dreamed them up.

CLASSES and the Species Likely associated with them.
Fighting Man Bloke (Halfling, Human)
Cleric Hip Priest (Elf)
Magic User Gadgeteer (any species)
Rogue Skald (Halfling)
Paladin the Fashionably Cultured (Elves, Humans)

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